The method of the Italian Center for single session therapy: the SST in 5 phases

The method of the Italian Center for single session therapy: the SST in 5 phases

Since last month the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy has launched the One Session which is the first access point without an appointment in Rome (and in the province), aimed at people who wish to receive psychological counseling from professionals trained in Single Session Therapy .

Which Single Session Therapy method is applied in the One Session Center?

The Italian Center for Single Session Therapy in recent years has developed its own Single Session Therapy method (Cannistrà & Piccirilli, 2018) starting from the integration of some existing practices in the world, in order to adapt it to the Italian context.

The method, although the result of an in-depth study, nevertheless represents a starting point for constant research and learning that will undoubtedly lead to new evolutions.


However, what are the fundamental aspects that characterize it?

fundamental point that characterizes the Italian method is to integrate principles and practices capable of maximizing the effectiveness of each individual meeting , developing a modular process in which the method or some phases of it, the skills or attitudes to be put into practice practice in the single session and the communication techniques used for the management of specific situations, can also be implemented independently of each other according to the needs of the therapist, the person and the setting.


How many and what are the stages of TSS?

The Italian method is developed in five phases that include the basic maneuvers of a single session from the first contact to the follow up phase. 

  1. Pre-treatment : in this phase the therapist makes telephone contact with the person, gets an idea of ​​the problem , sets the appointment and once in the office administers the pre-session questionnaire .


  1. Initial phase : in this phase the actual session begins and the therapist verbally introduces the concept of single session therapy . Once TSS is introduced, the therapist defines the problem to be solved or the goal to be achieved through the session. Once the problem or objective has been defined, the prioritization process begins , that is , focusing on the objective or problem that the person intends to address as a priority. It is essential in this phase to establish the therapeutic alliance also through the request for constant feedback .


  1. Middle phase : represents the phase in which the therapist investigates the client’s theory through the exploration of resources and exceptions to the problem, the attempted dysfunctional solutions , also evaluates and experiments possible solutions directly in the session. Also in this phase an important role will be played by the compliments , suggestions and feedback necessary to evaluate the alignment of the intervention.


  1. Final phase : in this phase the therapist summarizes the session, evaluates if there are any elements left out , prescribes tasks and concludes the session by explaining the formula of the open door . Finally, the therapist will make arrangements for the telephone follow-up.


  1. Follow up : the follow up carried out after about three weeks will allow the therapist to verify if the results obtained in the session have been maintained and if the person needs other interventions.

The time of each session may vary according to the therapist’s needs and may vary from half an hour, an hour or even more.



The Italian method today represents a possibility of resource-based and strength-oriented intervention  aimed therefore at the use of resources and strengths already present in people, able to maximize the effectiveness of a single meeting, intended both as a single moment intervention that as first of others. As an evolving method, it currently represents the starting point of a continuous research work, aimed at learning innovative practices , skills and techniques capable of making the intervention increasingly targeted to the needs of the person and shortin duration.



Angelica Giannetti
Psychologist, Psychotherapist
Team of the Italian Center
for Single Session Therapy



Cannistrà, F., & Piccirilli, F. (2018). Single Session Therapy: Principles and Practices . Florence: Giunti Editore.


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